Busy K-9 unit's “Kaiser” helps keep city safe
By Joan F. Simoneau, Community Reporter
Marlborough – Following three years of research, networking, demonstrating a need for a K-9 unit, and steady pursuit of grants to support the program, the Marlborough Police Department has successfully established a working, active K-9 unit to assist them in protecting residents of the city.
In announcing the program to the City Council last summer, Mayor Arthur Vigeant commended Police Chief Mark F. Leonard for “his dogged pursuit” of funding which was initiated when a $25,000 grant was received from the Stanton Foundation.
The program started immediately with the acquisition of Officer “Kaiser.” He and his handler, Patrolman Ken McKenzie, who had been involved in studying the statewide program, began intense training in the fall of 2013 at the Boston Police K-9 Academy and graduated in January. Kaiser, who is 3-years-old, is now certified in the areas of obedience, agility, apprehension, tracking and article searches which have prepared him for the busy schedule he has maintained since that time.
“Kaiser has a great life and loves to work,” McKenzie said. “He is high-speed and is happiest when working or chasing a ball when at home. He has his own kennel at my residence which has two areas – an interior and exterior portion where he is protected from the elements.”
Since graduation, Kaiser has been deployed 28 times. The calls range from public meet-and-greets, locating lost children and conducting building security checks to more dangerous incidents such as aiding suicidal persons, gun calls, burglaries, attempted crimes, domestic assault and battery, and restraining order violations.
“During deployments, I usually request backup officers to stay about 5 to 6 feet behind me, either left or right during a track,” McKenzie said. “The purpose of the backup officer is to protect the team from a possible lethal threat, aid and assist with the custody of a suspect and or render aid to an injured person. ”
As Kaiser started his new role, McKenzie conducted a brief orientation with his peers, to reemphasize the training they received at the academy on how to aid and assist the K-9 team.
McKenzie has been with the Marlborough Police Department for almost 22 years, 18 of which have been with the patrol division. He is a SWAT team operator, a RAD (Rape, Aggression and Defense) instructor, a field training officer and now the K-9 handler.
Kaiser and McKenzie will continue their training. They attend monthly “in-service” training sessions with the Boston K-9 group and meet twice a month with the Central Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council (CEMLEC) K-9 team, consisting of several Worcester County K-9 teams. This fall, they will return to the Boston K-9 Academy to become certified in narcotic detection.
Grants for the K-9 unit were also received from the state's Executive Office of Public Safety, the United States Department of Justice and the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security. Additional financing came from an outpouring of support by union leaders, the Patrolman Officers Association, local and area business owners and residents.
“I can's say thank you enough for all the support shown to the K-9 program,” McKenzie said. “The K-9 experience thus far has been extremely rewarding and more than I expected with regards to job satisfaction!
“I have a new found appreciation for the K-9 role and how the team (K-9 and patrol officers) work together to better serve the public in real time. It's an incredible feeling to know that all your hard work and training paid off when your K-9 locates a lost or missing child, recovered stolen property or you located a suspect or seized narcotics.”
Follow McKenzie and Kaiser on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/MPDK9.
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